EPA and Peace Corps Team to Advance Environmental Protection Around the World
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan and Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn convened for a ceremonial signing of a MOU between the two agencies to broaden and strengthen institutional ties and create opportunities for cooperation related to strategic planning, training, management assistance and project implementation.
Through the formal partnership, Peace Corps will use evidence-based practice and traditional ecological knowledge, along with EPA’s expertise to inform its programming for Peace Corps Volunteers to help address global environmental challenges at the local level in communities around the world. Areas of collaboration include solid waste and wastewater management; improved cookstoves to protect forest and human health; building the capacity of environmental institutions; coastal, watershed and natural resource planning and management; and biodiversity preservation and restoration. In addition to programming, the MOU creates career opportunities for returned Peace Corps Volunteers and former Peace Corps staff to join the EPA team in support of their mission.
“EPA greatly values our long history of environmental cooperation with the Peace Corps,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “We’re proud to strengthen our commitment to working together – in partnership with our volunteers and communities around the world – to combat the climate crisis, advance the values of environmental justice and equity, and strengthen environmental governance.”
See related article: EPA Publishes 30th Annual U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory
“Emulating the intricate coordination of nature’s living systems, the Peace Corps plays a critical role in the ecosystem of actors working toward environmental justice, a green economy, and everything in between,” said Director Spahn. “Together with EPA, we will take intentional actions to support localized climate adaptation and environmental protection efforts in 24 Sub-Saharan African countries. This partnership directly contributes to some of the communities most affected by climate change and environmental degradation around the world.”
The MOU advances the agencies’ shared commitment announced in December 2022 at the African and Diaspora Young Leaders Forum in Washington, D.C. At the summit, Peace Corps committed $4 million for Peace Corps Volunteers to work on projects combatting climate change on the African continent.
Since 2010, EPA and Peace Corps have partnered on environmental protection efforts in international communities of shared concern, including Jamaica, Panama, Costa Rica, Uganda, Kenya, Burkina Faso, and Morocco. Prior collaborations included technical input on Peace Corps training materials and environmental programs, handbooks on clean cookstoves, environmental education, pesticides, solid waste, and climate change.
Peace Corps currently has nearly 1,400 Volunteers serving in 53 countries across Africa; Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia; and the Inter-Americas and Pacific regions in support of government and community priorities. Both agencies will work side-by-side with local communities to protect a shared environmental future and in-country volunteering initiatives.